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UPDATED: April 14, 2014 NO. 16 APRIL 17, 2014
Brainstorm for the Future of Asia

The Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) 2014 was held in Boao in China's southern island province of Hainan from April 8 to 11, with Asia's New Future: Identifying New Growth Drivers as the theme. More than 3,000 officials, scholars and entrepreneurs from around the world held 60 formal discussions centering on the three topics of reform, innovation and sustainable development.

The annual BFA is one of the most important platforms for Asian countries and emerging economies in conducting high-end dialogues, helping to raise the influence of participating countries on development and cooperation around the globe. Given the backdrop of a sluggish global economy, particularly China's economic slowdown, this year's BFA appears to have greater importance. It is hoped that by exchanging ideas, people from all walks of life will find new growth drivers to support sustainable economic growth for Asia and the whole world at large.

Reform is among the hot topics of this year's BFA. As most emerging economies and Asian countries experience the slowing down of their growth, reform is important to create the driving force needed to support sustainable economic growth. China has accelerated the transformation of its economic growth structures and growth modes. Meanwhile, emerging economies like Russia and India are all trying to push forward their own reforms. Promoting development through reform has become a matter of consensus between developing countries. As a result, there is more to discuss for this year's BFA participants, and the forum has been able to harvest more ideas for economic reforms, such as how emerging economies can avoid the risk of an economic stall.

Compared to previous years, the worries over economic slowdown overshadowed formerly key topics like trade. Other relevant economic topics, like online finance, 4G wireless Internet, electronic business and traditional business, were also discussed during the forum.

The forum was held against the background of the United States speeding up its return to the Asia-Pacific region. Therefore, sensitive topics related to regional security, such as public diplomacy, international relations, international strategy and cooperation in the South China Sea, were also raised. Guests reached a general agreement that intelligence support and strengthening cooperation in various areas and reducing disputes in the Asia-Pacific region would be beneficial.

The United States' so-called "pivot to Asia" overemphasizes its political and military influence, and thus inflames regional tensions and frictions. Instead, BFA stresses communication and exchange. As Zhou Wenzhong, secretary general of the forum said, Asia and the world as a whole need to focus their attention on common development. The forum provides an excellent platform for Asian nations to seek common points of interest, overcome differences and achieve mutually beneficial cooperation.

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